Blockchain’s MDsquare Seeks Telemedicine Solutions Across Borders

Blockchain, Innovation | June 29, 2018 By:
MDsquare is building a new international telemedicine app that allows you to consult with doctors across borders and brings in human translators to help make sure communication is smooth. It also allows you to give doctors access to health devices and trackers like glucose monitors and step counters, and uses blockchain smart contracts to automate crypto payments and kickbacks.
Co-founder and COO Robert Hwang talked with Block Tribune about the service.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Tell me how you began this venture. Where’d you get the concept from? How did you get it underway?

ROBERT HWANG: Actually, the co-founder CEO, Paul Oh, actually initiated this company about two years ago. I actually joined as a co-founder together in the middle, early this year in January. Paul is a dentist, he’s a medical dentist, graduated from Yonsei University in Korea. He founded about three dentist clinics in Seoul. Living and working as a dentist, he felt that sometimes there are empty hours or where the dentists are not busy in their office and sometimes the doctors they have some time, for example, when they are out of the hospital, maybe on vacation or maybe at home. And even there are some doctors that don’t go to the hospital for awhile for some other reason, maybe pregnant.

And he felt that it would be very convenient if the doctor could use their empty time in the hospital, or maybe outside and also it would be very convenient for the patients to not always visit the hospital itself and can connect through the mobile application app, maybe in their home or office. So I think that was the starting point that Paul thought that this telemedicine solution is actually, really required in this world and will really help all the patients. So, that was actually the starting point for Paul.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Telemedicine has existed for awhile. Why is blockchain needed to augment that?

ROBERT HWANG: For our style, we have three major reasons for using blockchain. For us we actually have built our [inaudible 00:02:33] app starting about two years ago. So we have a mobile app right now inside Korean market for Apple store and for Google store. We were in the middle of starting the actual marketing app [inaudible 00:02:54] to start the service. We found out, we got into blockchain about end of last year and then we felt that the blockchain technology really fits good into our medical, telemedicine solution.

More of the three reasons is because our platform, we needed a concept that we could actually try to manage the connection mapping between the patient and the doctor. For example, the patients can try to put in their requirements for what kind of doctor they would like to meet. Or, if they want to pay, let’s say for example, less than fifty dollars or maybe they want to find a doctor who’s maybe younger than maybe forty years old. Some conditions like that. And then, we use the smart contract concept that will run to match the doctor profile to the patient one and I think the patient now can have maybe three or five doctors listed off meeting the requirements through smart contract and they can choose between that.

And also the doctor site is kind of similar too. Doctor will have some requirements for patients too so, through that smart contract actually helps to meet those requirements. So once the patient doctor start the first telemedicine call then they start their relationship. So for example, the doctor can try to manage or measure the patient on medical data. For example if the patient can put into the app about what time they actually ate their medicine. If they are using [inaudible 00:05:09] devices, maybe a smartwatch that can collect their heartbeat or maybe some other medical data that can automatically go into the blockchain. And if he needs some specific special working condition that is not contract run, then it notifies to the doctor. If the doctor feels that this is kind of [inaudible 00:05:35] the doctor can try to call through the app to the patient to see the condition of the patient. So I think smart contract concept is one thing that we felt that will be very helpful inside our platform for using blockchain.

The second reason is, we’re mainly targeting the starting [inaudible 00:06:01] inside Korea. I think Korea’s medical service level is very high inside Asia, pretty famous. There are lots of Chinese or Southeast Asia patients coming into Korea to get some medical service, especially for plastic surgery or maybe some cosmetic surgery treatments. So I think we’re targeting into delivering this telemedicine service into Southeast Asia. We’re also trying our region based with the doctors inside Korea. So I think when doing that there’s a lot of currencies that need to be paid inside a platform, so it could be a lot of confusion. So we thought that using a cryptocurrency, we could go over the boundary of the country. So that’s another two reasons that we’re trying to make a cryptocurrency of our own. And also, because we’re trying to build our own platform that we will be issuing some tokens and giving some bonus to the people who’s using our platform. So, to manage that, we thought that we needed our own tokens for doing that, so that’s the second reason.

I think the third reason will be about security. 

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  So tell me, most doctors who are successful are incredibly busy. So won’t you be building a service basically on the doctors who are not so busy, i.e., not that successful? And so why would a consumer want to consult these people?

ROBERT HWANG: For us I think the first reason is, in Korea, I think a lot of us, Asia country, telemedicine being the real medical service. But there is a lot of needs, but the government is not opening the barrier right now so we felt that people have a lot of needs inside that we are thinking of starting with, more like a tele-medical consulting service. So for one reason would be, a lot of people these days go for overseas traveling. When they go outside for traveling, they could be sick or maybe their kids could be sick, in that case, trying to find a hospital would be, not so easy and there’s a language barrier and also as there’s no insurance or cost for the medical services is high. In that case they can simply try to use our app to call into, and then consult about what the problem could be and then we could give them a guide where to find some common medicine which they could buy locally. 

Towards those reasons, we’re trying to make this service very cost effective. So when we are starting the service or to actually become a platform to people starting, using and coming in, patients and also doctors doing all the network, we’ll be starting as a free service and after the service gets more popular we’re thinking of getting some charge rates, maybe something like ten dollars inside Korea. So I think that’s the starting point.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Interpreters, how will you determine when they’re needed how are you hiring them?

ROBERT HWANG: We will have the [inaudible 00:10:19] inside of our network. So [inaudible 00:10:24] will know our service. At the starting point I think we will be contracting with several [inaudible 00:10:30], so people can know our service. As the platform grows on I think a lot of [inaudible 00:10:39] will, coming in by themselves. The reason that we’re using [inaudible 00:10:41] is because that at the initial stage we’ll have Korean doctors and I think Southeast Asia, or maybe Chinese patients will be calling in to our platform. They will request for [inaudible 00:11:00] service in that case. So that’s how it will run on. One of the key service that we are thinking for doing that, because there’s a lot of Chinese and Southeast kind of patients coming in to Korea ; it’s hard for them to actually find the right hospital for flying into Korea. So we will be doing a plastic surgery or maybe cosmetic surgery consulting service for the patients for free. So patients can try to [inaudible 00:11:32] several hospital and do consulting first in their country before choosing. And after they choose the hospital, they can fly in to get the actual plastic surgery.

This is actually a service that is actually kind of going on inside Korea on a offline base or maybe using some other video call kind of solution. So we are trying to become the platform for everyone to easily engage inside and choose and choose the hospital, and get the right hospice information. And for this service we will be getting the cost, money from the hospice side because it will be one of, kind of the marketing platform for those kind of plastic surgery or cosmetic hospital to try to get patients through our app inside other countries.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Every country has its own regulations. How are you dealing with having physicians in various countries unite through your app and getting approval for their advice being dispensed?

ROBERT HWANG: I think that’s a very important question because we haven’t yet started our main service and inside Korea the tele-medical service is actually banned. We are starting with tele-medical consultation service, so I think for consultation service it is actually outside the regulation because we’re not really doing the real medical service, because the real medical service need to tell them that you have this sickness or illness so they can try to give you out one medicine to eat and stuff like that. But we can not do like that, so we are going to start that consultant service inside Korea, but that’s the way that we go over the regulation inside Korea.

And the second one for starting the global service, our first model will be [inaudible 00:13:46] consulting. Kind of like medical marketing for the plastic surgery or maybe cosmetic hospital. So that will be the starting point and after doing that, there’s no regulation for that actually, it’s more like first consulting for choosing the right hospital for them. So when this becomes more popular with more patients and more doctors and more health device makers or maybe marketing service we’ll start going on in our platform. Then we will use more time to try to look into the regulation and hire some local doctors for local service, so that’s the plan that we’re going on right now.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Tell me about your ICO plans. When is it going to take place? Who’s involved?

ROBERT HWANG: We actually just started preparing the ICO about two months ago. We’re kind of now prepared with most of the market materials and I think the ICO market has been changing a lot since three or six months so I think these days, the public ICO crowd sells is not so easy. So for us, we’re try to focus more on our private sells, and then when we kind of go over our target in the private sells then we will be starting our pre-sells activity. So I think right now we need some time for private sells. So I think maybe two or three months, we’re targeting for the, we originally was thinking of doing ICO in July but we postponed our cross sells, public ICO to something like September. So maybe the pre sells will be open to the public in August or maybe September so that’s our plan now. For the private sells, we actually just started talking on that about a week ago so we are talking with some big blockchain and cryptocurrency influentiating companies or people and also talking with several crypto funds and big inner capitals right now.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Alright those are my questions. Anything you want to tell me about, I didn’t ask you about?

ROBERT HWANG: I think one of the key questions that we’re getting is, lot of people tell us to be successful for ICO and to be successful service, having the right big partners like big hospitals engaging to our platform will be one of the crucial parts. Actually we are starting talking on that part and we actually have recruited several big hospitals inside Korea. One is called BK Plastic Surgery ; one of the most successful hospitals inside Korea. And they have five branch hospitals in Asia, they’re for five countries. So I think that’s kind of our starting point and I think we’re still growing our partner network. Right now we have, I think maybe thirty doctors in our platform and we have maybe fifteen small clinic hospitals right now, but we just started partnering with bigger hospitals so I think that’s pretty important for us right now.